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26 Unusual Things To Do In Florence- Discover A Different Side Of The City

While Florence is undoubtedly known for its world-class art and architecture, it also boasts a rich and quirky culture that can be explored in a variety of unique ways. From visiting a secret pharmacy that dates back centuries to climbing the hill where Leonardo da Vinci once attempted to fly, there are plenty of unusual things to do in Florence. So why not step off the well-trodden tourist path in Florence and discover some of the city’s more curious and unexpected offerings?

Helpful Resources For Visiting Florence

Take advantage of the special discount offer by Qatar Airways to get the most economical flights to Florence. This deal has been personally tested and recommended.

It is essential to have travel insurance when traveling to Italy, and if you don’t have any, SafetyWing offers affordable plans that cover not only medical expenses but also other miscellaneous travel expenses such as delayed flights and lost baggage.

You can rent a car in Florence with a special offer by Auto Europe, which can give you up to 25% off. Our Auto Europe review can provide you with more information.

For bus and train rides in Italy, use Busbud (for more info, check out our review), which offers up to a 10% discount on transportation bookings to and from Florence.

If you want to save money on accommodation, use our Booking special offer, which can save you up to 15% on all properties in town.

Don’t forget to obtain a visa if required. You can apply for one through Ivisa, and they will take care of all the necessary arrangements for you. For more information, you can also check out our iVisa review.

For discovering more hidden gems across the country, check out our guide to hidden gems in Italy and our list of things you can find only in Italy.

To help you budget your trip to Italy, we also prepared a guide to visiting Italy on a budget and if you’re looking for a place to stay in Florence, you may find this Hotel Lungarno review helpful.

Now that we covered some basics, let’s see which are some of the most unusual things to do in Florence.

Try Quirky Florentine Street Food

unusual street food in florence

We start off this list of unusual things to do in Florence with its unique street food scene. If you’re looking for an adventurous food experience in Florence, skip the typical pizza and pasta joints and head straight for the street food scene. Here are some quirky options that are sure to surprise your taste buds.

Lampredotto: a sandwich made from the fourth stomach of a cow, slow-cooked in a savory broth and served on a crusty roll. It may sound odd, but it’s a beloved Florentine classic.

Trippa: another offal delicacy, this time made from the lining of a cow’s stomach, stewed with tomato sauce and served with bread. It’s not for everyone, but it’s worth trying if you’re feeling brave.

Schiacciata all’olio: a fluffy, savory flatbread drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with coarse salt. It’s simple but delicious, and perfect for a quick snack on the go.

So why settle for boring street food when you can take a walk on the wild side with these unconventional options?

Explore The Street Art

street art in florence

Florence is known for its rich history and beautiful art, but the city also has a vibrant street art scene that’s worth exploring. Here are some unconventional works that will catch your eye:

Clet Abraham’s street signs: this French artist adds a whimsical touch to the city’s traffic signs, transforming them into playful works of art.

Exit/Enter by Blub: a series of underwater-themed murals that can be found on the city’s walls and bridges, featuring famous Florentine figures wearing scuba gear.

The Stencil Gallery: a collection of stencil art pieces scattered throughout the city, featuring political and social commentary as well as pop culture references.

From altered street signs to underwater murals, Florence’s street art scene offers a unique perspective on the city’s cultural heritage. So why not take a stroll and discover some of these hidden gems?

Shop At The Sant’Ambrogio Market

sant ambrogio market

If you’re looking for an authentic shopping experience in Florence, Sant’Ambrogio Market is a must-visit destination. This bustling market offers a treasure trove of local produce, artisanal goods, and handmade crafts that you won’t find anywhere else. From fresh fruit and vegetables to cured meats and cheeses, the market is a foodie’s paradise.

You can also discover unique Tuscan products like olive oil, truffles, and wine, as well as traditional Florentine treats like cantucci and panforte. And if you’re in the mood for some shopping, the market features a variety of handmade crafts made by local artisans, including leather goods, ceramics, and jewelry.

If you like to explore this unique market, I warmly recommend this awesome walking tour of the area.

Hear The Song Of The Monks Of San Miniato

basilica of San Miniato al Monte

If you’re looking for a different experience in Florence, make your way to the basilica of San Miniato al Monte and listen to the Gregorian chants of the monks who reside there. The harmonious melodies of the monks’ chants have been echoing through the ancient basilica for centuries, creating an enchanting atmosphere that’s hard to describe.

Not only is the music beautiful, but the basilica itself is a stunning example of Romanesque architecture, perched on a hill overlooking the city. It’s a perfect spot to take a break from the crowds and immerse yourself in the history and culture of Florence.

See Centuries-Old Eerily Realistic Anatomical Wax Models

la specola florence

If you want to do some of the most unusual things to do in Florence, visiting La Specola museum and seeing its collection of eerily realistic anatomical wax models should be at the top of your list. The museum’s collection dates back to the 18th century and features a wide range of models, including human organs, body parts, and even entire dissected bodies.

The attention to detail and accuracy of the models is truly impressive, making them both beautiful and eerie at the same time. It’s a unique opportunity to delve into the world of anatomy and medicine from a historical perspective, and the museum itself is housed in a beautiful building that’s worth exploring.

Walk The Medici Secret Hallways

Vasari Corridor

This list of unusual things to do in Florence couldn’t be complete without the Medicci family secret passage. If you’re tired of fighting your way through the crowds in Florence, take a leaf out of the Medici’s book and escape via the secret hallways of the Vasari Corridor. This hidden gem was built in the 16th century as a private walkway for the Medici family, allowing them to travel between their residence at Palazzo Pitti and the government palace in Piazza della Signoria without being seen by the public. Today, the corridor is open to visitors by appointment, and offers a unique perspective on the city, as well as some stunning views of the Arno River.

Check Out The Craft Shops Of Oltrarno

oltrarno unusual things to do in florence

If you’re looking for a unique shopping experience in Florence, head across the Arno River to the Oltrarno district and explore its many crafts shops. This historic neighborhood is home to a thriving community of artisans and craftspeople who create everything from handmade leather goods and ceramics to intricate jewelry and textiles. You can watch them at work in their workshops and purchase one-of-a-kind items directly from the source.

It’s a great way to support local artisans and bring home a truly special souvenir of your time in Florence. Plus, the Oltrarno district is full of charming cafés and restaurants, so you can make a day of it and enjoy a leisurely stroll through one of the city’s most authentic neighborhoods.

See One Of The Largest Armor Collections In Europe

Stibbert Museum

For an armor-azing experience in Florence, visit the Stibbert Museum and marvel at one of the largest armor collections in Europe. The museum’s founder, Frederick Stibbert, was a passionate collector of arms and armor, and amassed an impressive collection that spans centuries and continents. From suits of armor worn by medieval knights to ornate samurai helmets and intricate Mughal shields, the collection offers a unique perspective on the history of warfare and the art of armor-making.

Climb The Hill Where Leonardo Was Trying To Fly

Monte Ceceri unusual things to do in florence

Speaking of unusual things to do in Florence, we just have to mention the Monte Ceceri Hill. If you’re feeling adventurous in Florence, why not channel your inner Leonardo da Vinci and climb the hill where he attempted to fly? Located in the Oltrarno district, Monte Ceceri was the site of da Vinci’s experiments with flight in the late 15th century.

While his flying machine may not have been a success, the hill offers stunning views of the city and the surrounding countryside, making it a great spot for a hike. Plus, you can impress your friends with your knowledge of Renaissance history and aviation. So why not take a leap of faith and climb Montececeri Hill? You never know where it might take you.

Buy Medicines From The World’s Oldest Pharmacy

antique pharmacy

For a truly unique shopping experience in Florence, visit the world’s oldest pharmacy, the Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella. Founded by Dominican friars in the 13th century, the pharmacy has been producing high-quality medicines, perfumes, and cosmetics for over 800 years.

The building itself is a work of art, with ornate frescoes, marble floors, and intricate stucco decorations. You can browse a wide selection of products, from traditional remedies to luxurious fragrances, and even take a tour of the pharmacy’s historic rooms and gardens. It’s a great way to step back in time and experience a piece of Florence’s rich cultural heritage, while also treating yourself to some world-class products.

See Galileo’s Middle Finger

galileo finger

If you’re a science enthusiast, make sure to visit the Museo Galileo in Florence and catch a glimpse of Galileo’s middle finger. Yes, you read that right! The museum has one of Galileo’s fingers on display, which was removed from his body during a postmortem examination in 1737. The finger serves as a reminder of Galileo’s contributions to science and his struggle against the Catholic Church’s persecution of his ideas. Alongside the finger, the museum houses a collection of scientific instruments and artifacts, including telescopes, astrolabes, and compasses.

Discover The First Orphanage In Europe

hospital of the innocent

The Hospital of the Innocents, located in the heart of Florence, is one of the city’s most historically significant landmarks. Founded in the early 15th century, it was the first orphanage in Europe and aimed to provide care for abandoned children. The building itself is a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture, with its ornate loggia, frescoes, and stunning courtyard. But what makes it truly unusual is its unique method of abandoning babies.

The hospital had a “foundling wheel,” a revolving door where unwanted babies could be left anonymously. The door would spin, and the baby would be taken in and cared for by the hospital’s staff. Today, the Hospital of the Innocents is a museum that tells the story of its fascinating history, making it a must-visit for anyone interested in the social history of Florence.

If you’re like to learn more about the quirky, and somewhat sad history of the hospital, I warmly recommend this great tour of the complex.

Take A Selfie In The Selfie Museum

Selfie Museum florence

The Selfie Museum is one of the most interesting unusual things to do in Florence; the “museum” invites visitors to step into a world of Instagram-worthy photo opportunities and unlike traditional museums, the Selfie Museum is designed to be an interactive experience, where visitors can pose for photos and experiment with various backdrops and props.

What makes it particularly unique is its focus on promoting self-expression and creativity. The museum features a range of themed rooms, including a “flying carpet” room and a “unicorn” room, that offer visitors the chance to create their own imaginative and fun photos. It’s a great place to visit with friends or family and let your creative juices flow.

Go On An Eating Spree In The Small Bakeries Of Florence

florence bakeries

Florence is a city that takes its food seriously, and one of the best ways to experience its culinary delights is by visiting its small bakeries. These charming shops are dotted throughout the city and offer an array of sweet and savory treats, from freshly baked bread to delicious pastries. What makes them truly special is their commitment to using local, seasonal ingredients and traditional methods of preparation.

You can sample a range of delicacies, from the classic panino con lampredotto to the mouth-watering schiacciata all’uva. So why not go on an eating spree and indulge your taste buds in some of the best baked goods Florence has to offer? It’s the perfect way to experience the city’s rich culinary heritage while satisfying your cravings.

Relax In Europe’s Oldest Spa Town

Montecatini Terme

Located a short drive away from Florence, Montecatini Terme is a historic spa town located in Tuscany, Italy. It is one of the oldest spa towns in Europe and has been attracting visitors for its healing waters since the 16th century. The spa’s thermal waters are said to have a range of therapeutic benefits, from easing aches and pains to promoting relaxation and well-being. What makes Tettuccio particularly unique is its stunning Art Nouveau architecture, which features intricate mosaics, frescoes, and marble statues. The spa town is also surrounded by lush greenery, making it the perfect place to unwind and rejuvenate.

Have A Unique Shopping Experience At The Antique Flea Market

florence flea market

The Florence Antique Flea Market is a unique shopping experience that is not to be missed. Held monthly in the Piazza dei Ciompi, this vibrant market is a treasure trove of antique and vintage finds, from furniture and home decor to jewelry and artwork. What makes the market particularly special is its emphasis on authenticity and quality.

Each item for sale has been carefully curated by expert antique dealers, ensuring that you can shop with confidence. It’s a great place to find one-of-a-kind souvenirs or to add a touch of vintage charm to your home. And with its lively atmosphere and friendly vendors, it’s not just a shopping trip – it’s an adventure.

Try To Spot The Famous Wine Windows Of Florence

wine windows

Florence is a city full of hidden gems and quirky features, and one of the most charming and unusual of these is the famous wine windows. These shuttered openings, often adorned with elaborate carvings and decorations, were once used by wine merchants to sell their wares without direct contact with customers. In times of plague, they also served as a way to safely purchase food and wine. Today, spotting these historic windows is a fun and fascinating activity for visitors to the city, and a great way to explore the charming backstreets and alleyways.

See Michelangelo’s Revolutionary Laurentian Library

Laurentian Library unusual things to do in florence

If you’re a lover of art and architecture, then the Laurentian Library in Florence is one of the best unusual things to do in Florence. Designed by the Renaissance master Michelangelo, the library is a revolutionary masterpiece of design that seamlessly blends art, science, and spirituality. From the grand staircase to the intricately carved bookcases, every detail of the library is a testament to Michelangelo’s unparalleled skill and creativity.

And with its stunning frescoes, intricate stonework, and soaring vaulted ceilings, the library is a feast for the eyes and a testament to the power of human imagination and ingenuity. So if you’re looking for a truly unique and inspiring experience in Florence, don’t miss the chance to visit Michelangelo’s revolutionary Laurentian Library.

The best way to experience this architectural gem is through a knowledgeable guide and no one does it better than these guys (personally recommend).

Try To Find L’importuno Di Michelangelo

L’importuno Di Michelangelo

One of the most unusual and striking works of art in Florence is “L’importuno” (The Intruder), a statue by Michelangelo that depicts a naked man straining to escape from a block of marble. This unfinished masterpiece has been the subject of much speculation and interpretation over the years, with some art historians suggesting that the figure represents the struggle of the artist to free his ideas from the constraints of the material world.

Others see it as a commentary on the human condition and the eternal struggle to break free from our own limitations. Whatever the interpretation, “L’importuno” is a thought-provoking and visually stunning work of art that is not to be missed by anyone with an interest in the history and culture of Florence.

See The Maps Of Medici Hall Of Maps

medicci hall of maps

If you’re a lover of maps and history, then a visit to the Medici Hall of Maps in Florence is an absolute must. This stunning collection of maps, commissioned by the powerful Medici family in the 16th century, is not only an invaluable resource for scholars and historians, but also a feast for the eyes.

The maps are exquisitely detailed and beautifully rendered, depicting not only the geography of the world but also the customs, cultures, and beliefs of the people who inhabited it. And with its opulent decor and lavish furnishings, the Medici Hall of Maps is a testament to the power and influence of one of history’s most remarkable dynasties.

Rub Il Porcellino

il porcellino

If you’re looking for a bit of luck in Florence, then a visit to Il Porcellino is a must. This bronze statue of a wild boar has been a fixture in the city since the 17th century, and legend has it that rubbing its snout will bring good luck and a guaranteed return to Florence. But be warned: the competition to rub the boar’s nose can be fierce, so you may need to queue up and wait your turn. And who knows, maybe the luck will be on your side and you’ll return home with more than just a souvenir from your trip to Florence!

Enjoying this post? Then you may also like our list of hidden gems in Northern Italy.

See Wax Medical Deformities At The Florence Museum of Pathological Anatomy

Florence Museum of Pathological Anatomy unusual things to do in florence

The Florence Museum of Pathological Anatomy may not be for the faint of heart, but it’s definitely a fascinating experience for those with a curious mind. This unusual museum is home to a collection of wax medical models, which depict various deformities, diseases, and anatomical abnormalities in eerily realistic detail.

From tumors to malformations, the collection is a testament to the human body’s ability to both survive and succumb to disease. And while it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, the museum is a unique opportunity to learn about the history of medicine and the progress made in the field over the centuries.

See The Mummified Relic of St. Antoninus

Basilica of San Marco

If you’re looking for macabre unusual things to do in Florence, look no further than the mummified relic of St. Antoninus. This ancient religious artifact is said to contain the remains of the 15th-century archbishop of Florence, who was known for his piety and philanthropy during his lifetime. The relic is housed in a small chapel in the Basilica of San Marco, where visitors can see the remarkably well-preserved body of St. Antoninus on display. It’s a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with history, and to contemplate the mysteries of life and death.

See The Beautiful Funerary Art Of Cimitero delle Porte Sante

Cimitero Delle Porte Sante

The Cimitero delle Porte Sante is not your typical cemetery – it’s a stunning showcase of beautiful funerary art and a peaceful haven for reflection and contemplation. Located on a hillside just outside of Florence’s historic center, the cemetery offers breathtaking views of the city and surrounding hills.

But the real highlight is the exquisite artwork on display – from ornate marble tombs to intricate sculptures, each piece tells a unique story of remembrance and reverence. So take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy a serene stroll among the artistry of the dearly departed. You won’t regret it!

Find A Cabinet Of Curiosities In The Heart Of Florence

Massimo Listri Foundation unusual things to do in florence

If you’re a lover of all things strange and wonderful, the Massimo Listri Foundation is an absolute must-visit. Tucked away in the heart of Florence, this museum-cum-cabinet of curiosities houses an incredible collection of oddities and wonders from around the world. From antique scientific instruments to exotic taxidermy specimens, the eclectic assortment of items is sure to delight and fascinate in equal measure.

And with the stunning photography of Massimo Listri himself on display throughout, the space itself is a work of art. So come and explore this hidden gem – you never know what marvels you might discover!

Pay Your Respects At Platform 16 Holocaust Deportation Memorials

Platform 16 unusual things to do in florence

At last, we round up this list of unusual things to do in Florence with Platform 16 at the Santa Maria Novella station in Florence which is a poignant and solemn reminder of the city’s darkest hour. It was from this platform that thousands of Jewish residents of Florence and surrounding areas were deported to concentration camps during World War II. Today, the platform has been transformed into a memorial, with a series of plaques and sculptures commemorating those who were lost.

Visitors can pay their respects and reflect on the devastating impact of the Holocaust on the local community and the world as a whole. It’s a powerful reminder of the importance of remembering and honoring the victims of this tragic chapter in human history.

How did you like this list of unusual things to do in Florence? Did you ever visit any of these places? Would you like to visit some of them? Are there any other non-touristy things to do in Florence you believe we should have mentioned in this article? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

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